Curled up in a blanket, surrounded by my children, and crying as my heart races, Netflix’s JINGLE JANGLE delivers Christmas magic in a surprising way.
Buried in the algorithm, I didn’t see JINGLE JANGLE until weeks after it’s release. Did you see it and miss it? Then catch up on this one before you finish The Queen’s Gambit (it’s ok to take breaks for special movies). But, it’s not a Christmas Movie, it’s impossibly better than that.
JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY feels like a stand-alone fantastical musical that was re-written for the Christmas genre, because nothing about the story is based in or around traditional Christmas lore, but the magic makes it work. The toymaker aspect is what I went with for most of the film, but it became clear that this is a story about coming back to life through believing it’s possible and connecting over the things that we share, and I loved it. It stands on its own as a musical AND as a movie and is as satisfyingly unique as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was for its original generation. I’m hoping that the team behind JINGLE JANGLE are working on a broadway version for when pandemic life adjusts back to in-person theater. But I’m glad it’s a Christmas movie right now, this is the time of year that I crave this kind of story. Especially in 2020.
In JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY, An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever (IMDb). Which is all true, but they are stretching that Christmas journey marketing line quite a bit.
Intergenerational destiny, lessons on greed and thievery, and magical performances give me the warmth that traditional types of limited Christmas movies aim to accomplish. This movie recycled nothing, yet delivered all the feelings and more. Christmas genre movies are rarely unique, yet writer/director David E. Talbert surprised me over and over alongside memorable music by producer and singer John Legend. I was overjoyed to see Keegan-Michael Key sing and dance, Forest Whitaker‘s arc is patiently organic, Madalen Mills is energizing to watch, and Lisa Davina Phillip is laugh-out-loud charming. Watch on Netflix surrounded by family and friends any time of year.